Read reviews for the Solo Plus by Wenonah Canoe, Inc. as submitted by your fellow paddlers.
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Received this as a gift 15...
Received this as a gift 15 years ago from my wife. I think I will keep her!
I initially used this for canoe camping, heavily loaded with gear. It was OK for that, but a little narrow to haul huge loads. I found it to be on the tippy side, but after I lowered the seats 2 1/2" it was better. Not having a distinct keel it is difficult for beginner paddlers to track a straight line. I have laughed my head of watching the crew fight each other as they snake along. Eventually, this became my preferred solo boat. Leaving just the center seat it could haul sufficient gear, my 65lb. dog and me for a five day camping trip. Without a load it is a dream to paddle, although with the 16' 6" length it would struggle in high winds.
-Versatile seat arrangements(nice solo boat)
-Easy to paddle and glide
-Difficult for beginners to track straight
-Seats too high for stability(fixable)
-Marginal hauling capacity
I have mixed feeling about...
I have mixed feeling about this boat.(Royalex w/wood gunwales) My wife gave it to me for my 50th birthday, which was a great treat. We have paddled it extensively on day trips and multi-day camping trips. I have only recently used it for solo camping trips. It is excellent for this purpose. Plenty of room for gear and ample freeboard. Unfortunately, the lake where I like to camp is notoriously windy in the afternoon and as others have noted, this boat is tough to handle in strong winds. I can manage this with some effort, but my wife is hopelessly overmatched. I have also seen two inexperienced paddlers almost unable to maintain a track in the wind.
On the other hand, on a still morning or evening the light weight and long and slippery hull shape are almost effortless to paddle. Just a few strokes will put a big smile on your face. I also appreciate the light weight which enables me to load and unload the boat on top of a pick-up by myself.
This is one of the most...
This is one of the most versatile canoes available. It comes set up to paddle solo but can also be used as a tandem. It's size allows for carrying all the gear needed for extended camping trips and or hunting/fishing trips to. Due to it's length it's a little slow to turn the sides height catches the wind but that's the price you pay for all that versatility. The weight is about as heavy as one person can handle. For some their newer Wilderness might be the better choice particularly if you don't need or want the ability to use it tandem. Good stability, speed and comfort.
I have an old used solo...
I have an old used solo plus. It is marked "kevlar 49" and i found launch passes from as old as 96. Anyway I'm not sure how the weight compares to the various options now available but it is light enough to carry with gunnel over one shoulder for a few hundred yards.
I'm 200lbs and carry minimum of 20lbs up to 100lbs depending on trip length. Boat is FAST solo and i can cover alot of distance. It tracks really well with minimal correction stroke (just jstroke at moderate speed and switch if I'm in a hurry). The trade off is the stern sticks, the bow seems to blow around in the wind alo t and is very hard to turn into the wind. I don't like to take this boat out if it is over 10-15 mph wind. Also in tight tidal creeks i was having trouble side-sliding around corners. I could get the bow around the corner but the boat just keeps sliding sideways and i need to draw on the off side to keep off the bank.
Other issues are i switch between sitting and kneeling to minimize joint pain and the seat is to low to kneel under with sandals (I'm only size 10.5) and barefoot is tight which probably is not safe in the event of a capsizing.
Tandem it is VERY FAST and paddles up to cruising speed with very little effort. But i see no advantage in any other aspect vs my old town canadienne. But its nice for it to double as a serviceable tandem i suppose especially when its your only boat.
Speed 10 - Tracking 10 - Build quality 8 - Turning/maneuvering 5 - Solo 9 - Tandem 5
After two seasons of...
After two seasons of fishing this canoe I feel I can now give a decent review of it's paddling while fishing characteristics. I do much more river fishing than lake fishing and I do believe I would benefit by a little rocker.
When paddled solo with my 175lbs and gear (tackle, rods, small cooler) I know it is loaded well over 200lbs. My only complaint is that the stern tends to stick. I believe I have my cargo loaded in a neutral position, I have found I gain the most control with the center seat high in back, low in front, feet braced against the Wenonah footbrace. From this position, even with substantial side heeling, the stern makes a swooshing noise as it sticks in moderate current. I paddle with a 250cm kayak paddle, I will be going longer in the future.
The canoe paddles well upstream and handles dam tailwater waves easily. As a tandem it is adequate, it paddles nicely with with my 8 year old boy, loading properly to balance weight, J-strokes nicely in this configuration. I have 2 friends I fish with regularly and while a hair twitchy the Solo-Plus is acceptable for this use, they are of similar weight to me, and the craft is only suitable for downriver use as the load is too much for good upriver paddling. I have a third friend that has fused vertibrae in his lower back, with his inability to keep his upper body vertical with the movement of the canoe, this canoe is just to twitchy at this loading to be safe.
Overall I am happy with this canoe as I ask a lot from one boat. If it were designed just for me I would like a little rocker and some flare in the bow and stern (might not be possible in royalex)
Royalex floats on top of...
Royalex floats on top of the water as expected. I am 5'10, 170. My girl is 5'10 150 and we rock this canoe to the fullest. We have done slow, mellow rivers; along, with the fastest such as the pine river. I love it, and it keeps paying for itself. We let friends borrow it and no one/group can keep up with the "cruiser". I love this boat!
I see lots of reviews...
I see lots of reviews mentioning the lack of rocker on the solo plus...in the give and take of boat design, lack of rocker gives a long smooth waterline which translates into good flatwater boat speed. That said, when leaned over the rounded shape on the sides translates into rocker. Leaning hard is relatively easy--almost natural--paddling solo, making the solo plus ok for up to about class 2 solo. paddled tandem as you approach class 2 the narrow bow limits you more then the maneuverability....in waves or drops with even a small person in front the bow goes under pretty easy.
All in all, a great boat for 1 or 2. We even canoe camp and take it thru the 1+ with 2 people and lots of gear 'cause canoe camping is about being comfortable!
I purchased my Solo-Plus...
I purchased my Solo-Plus last fall and have had the opportunity to use it a good bit now. I agree with the previous review...I'm 235# & 6'2" and I removed the front and aft seats so it would only be used as a solo boat.
Its initial stability is fantastic and secondary seems to be fine so far as well. On calm water its perfect and in a current its great upstream, downstream and cross current. But in current it doesn't like to turn and is a real bear if you need to do it often. As a solo fishing boat its wonderful. I removed the stock center seat and installed a board with a standard Action boat seat in its place. Now I can sit comfortably all day with the seat at its highest level station.
Highly satisfied and only wish it were a couple of feet shorter and 15lbs lighter.
I weigh about 170 and am...
I weigh about 170 and am average height. The soloPlus is a great boat for fishing solo because three 6.5' poles can sit right in front of you, lures attached. However, because it lacks any rocker at all, doing a 180 turn as a solo while drifting down a class 1 stream is a major effort -- it doesn't like to spin. That said, when it's starting to get dark and you have 3-4 miles of fast paddling to do, the soloPlus is great -- it really cooks and goes straight. It is also very good (solo) going straight upstream in current.
As a tandem, I am fine with a rather lightish (130 pounder plus/minus) in front and with me in back, however, I have been in front with an inexperienced 230 pounder in back on a calm lake, and found the experience quite unsettling. The big guy can go solo in the middle seat, but don't put two together in this boat, in my opinion.
I recently bought a...
I recently bought a second-hand Solo Plus ultra light kevlar. I was sold on the light weight before I ever got to paddle it. Once I got it in the water, I was extremely happy with the way it handled. I paddled solo a half dozen times before I put it through the real test: tandem with a load into the wilderness.
I'm a pretty big guy(260#) and my partner for this trip is around 200, plus 150 lbs of gear. When we first loaded up I left the middle seat in place and loaded gear around it, that really cramped me in the rear of the boat and left me feeling pretty unstable. I was wondering if the solo plus was the right canoe for me. At the first portage we removed the center seat and were able to distribute the weight more evenly. The difference was incredible, exactly what we needed. For the remainder of the trip this boat was a pleasure to paddle, not to mention portage at a svelt 39 lbs. This boat performed so well, my beer can paddling friend is going shopping for his own kevlar model.
This boat is a very versatile craft and I would strongly recommend it, even if you are planning to tandem quite a bit and only solo once in a while.
I purchased the Solo Plus...
I purchased the Solo Plus kevlar second hand. I am very impressed with how light the boat is and how quickly it moves through the water. It's been a pleasure to paddle it solo and with my 9 year old. I also own a tandem recreational touring kayak. I prefer to use the canoe as opposed to the kayak. Wonderful boat!
Nice boat. Bought the...
Nice boat. Bought the Royalex version several years ago, when the kids were young. We have 3 boats, this is the ones the boys have always fought over. They are 18 and 16 now, and this is still their favorite boat. Its fast through the water, easy to maneuver, just a really nice tandem boat if you don't need too much capacity. A nice solo boat as well, still easy to control, and quite fast. My only warning would be that if you are planning to paddle tandem, and you are heavy, probably should find a bigger boat. My wife and I are paddle it comfortably (and we are about 400 pounds together), but any heavier and I think you would want a bigger boat. Otherwise, go for it... really neat boat Wenonah designed, it works well for lots of different kinds of paddling.
I got this boat to be a...
I got this boat to be a compromise. I like to canoe solo, but taking a friend is truely enjoyable. This boat looked like a good choice, and it was. I have used it solo and it has handled comfortably. For a solo it is very stable.
I like to use this boat to introduce people to canoes. The secondary stability is decent so that you can show them (soloing) about heeling the boat. It is also efficent enought that when your new paddler wears out, you are not too bogged down. I took two friends, my Solo Plus and my kayak on an 8 mile trip. I started in the kayak, I ended the last two miles paddling the canoe on my own and dragged the kayak with a friend in it, and I was still just cooking down the river (reletively with 300 LBS of dead weight and a kayak)
Mine is an Ultra Light and is an all around pleasure. The only thing I would want to improve it (in my eyes) would to be some rocker. I would easily recomend it to anyone with small children, or looking for a decent compromise boat. I am looking forward to haveing this boat for MANY years (I had better for the price I paid). The company's write ups on this boat are entirely accurate.
This is a big solo. I...
This is a big solo. I bought it to hunt out of. I have the kevlar flex core version simply because it is more responsive and does not oil can like a royalex boat. If I could give this boat a 15 for a bow hunters pack the meat out over ten miles of windy lake kinda boat I would. I would also only give this boat a 4 as a tandem. I have more than one boat, and this is the best big solo I have ever had the pleasure of paddling. It can be ordered with only one seat.
From time to time people...
From time to time people have raised the question of what boats are good for young children. I wanted to post my experience so far with kids in a solo plus so those considering a purchase may benefit.
I bought a Solo Plus for my 7 and 9 year old boys late last year (ok, it's for me too). I thought it would be a good tandem for them since it is quite narrow at the ends and has no rocker making it easier to keep straight. The first time we had it out, I was in the center seat and they were in the ends. I did most of the "driving." I thought it would be kind of tough to turn with no rocker and each of them on the ends. I was surprised that it turned fairly easily (all things considered).
Next outing, I let them paddle by themselves in a fairly small class one creek. This is the first time they have ever been in a canoe by themselves. For those who would gasp, I knew what they were in for since just did it a few days before. We only did a few miles but they did absolutely great in the Solo Plus. There were lots of turns and a few small rapids and constant innocuous strainers along the banks. I was surprised at how well the boat responded to their strokes. At their weight, the bow and stern both responded instantly to their little draws and prys. They never hit a thing and were able to keep a very good line. It was really cool to watch.
I would recommend the Solo Plus for anyone who wants to introduce youngsters to canoeing. Not to mention, you have a decent solo for yourself as well. I can't really comment much about its solo ability yet since I only paddled it that way around 4 miles so far and am not used to it yet. But for youngsters going tandem, I'm extremely pleased.
What a wonderfully stable...
What a wonderfully stable and fast canoe. I love paddling up the Des Moines River and floating back down on a nice spring day in Iowa. I am recently married and hope my wife likes canoes, but if not, that is why I bought a Solo +; it covers all situations pretty well.
I was looking for a...
I was looking for a versatile boat I could paddle solo as well as take my wife and 3yr old occasionally. I also wanted a relatively light boat I could easily carry myself and load on the car top racks. After considerable research, I decided on the Royalex Solo Plus. I have paddled solo several times and find the tracking OK but not great but I'm light at 155 lbs. It tracks much better with some weight and with my wife up front and my 3 yr old son in the middle, it does fine. We have had many pleasurable afternoons exploring some of the backwater creeks on the Chattahoochee River near Bull Sluice Lake in Atlanta. This canoe works great for this purpose even though it was not intended for three. I have also tandem paddled the upper Chattahoochee from Buford Dam to Abbotts Bridge when the water level was high and encountered several class 2 rapids. No problems but did take a bit of water over the bow. This is not a whitewater boat but can handle some minor whitewater if you need for it to. I'm happy with the boat and the versatility it has and look forward to a lot of good times with it.
I am generally pleased...
I am generally pleased with this canoe, the Royalex version. The bow pushes a tad more water than I would like; however, the Wenonah dealer clearly stated Royalex bow cannot be as made as sharp as the Keyvlar/fiberglass bow. His statements are true. I had the option to buy the lighter, more expensive Kevylar version. I will still stick with the Royalex as I think this is more durable for my needs.
For dealing with larger waves, winds on lakes with one or more mile of fetches, I have added a canoe cover, and knee braces with straps and foot pegs (from another kayak), and raised the center seat a little (so I can kneel on the kneepads and easily remove my feet if I capsize). This is borrowing a few ideals for the whitewater canoeists. I have tried to try to eskimo roll this canoe with this configuration (I paddle kayaks, too). I have not had any luck yet. I like the low center of gravity in a kayak when in waves. I will do some testing during the next few years.
Wenonah should offer a nine foot kayak paddle with this canoe. I can keep pace with most other kayakers when using this nine foot kayak paddle.
I will also be trying the Spirit Sails downwind sail with this canoe. The board, which Spirit Sails gives directions for making, fit fine in this canoe. I may attach Sponsons while under sail, for more stability.
Overall, I am having fun with this canoe, with all the little minor teaks I have made. I used this for a one week trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area (solo). I pack heavy. This canoe worked quite well for the trip. The Royalex has worked well with a few scraps over rocks.
One note: I am lake or flatwater person. As this canoe tracks very well as it has zero rocker, I would hesistate to try this canoe on white water.
I have had my Solo Plus...
I have had my Solo Plus now on two major trips covering almost every water type one might encounter in an average canoe's life. Glass smooth, deep lakes; windy, choppy and motorboat-ridden lakes; flat, moving water and class I rapids. I have used it solo lightly and fully loaded and tandem with a weekend's gear and 120 lbs. of dogs.
The pluses: Overall it is extremely stable, especially with some weight in it. It is least stable with just me, most stable with me and 3 days of gear, and suprisingly stable with 2 people, 2 dogs and 3 days of gear. Wenonah does not recommend that much weight but I thought the Solo Plus handled it great! I did max out the waterline with that load. It tracks well but again, me plus some gear improves the tracking ability. (I am only 135 lbs. so I provide very little weight on my own.) It handles well on still water, especially when leaned, and adequately on moving water except in fast, imperative changes in direction. Very stable on choppy, windy water. Hull is very solid and stiff.
The minuses: Handles terribly in fast, emergency moves on moving water. I bashed several fallen trees that I could have avoided in my last canoe. But to be fair I am getting better with emergency manuevers as I practice more. The gel coat is VERY soft (I have Tuf-Weave) and in two major trips it already looks very worn and scratched. I really wish I had ordered the white instead of the green to hide some of these scratches. I will be putting skid plates on.
Nuetral: Weight-wise I do not find it too heavy or especially light. It was beautiful to look at but, as I said, is showing wear very quickly.
Overall: I really like this canoe; I think it is just as advertised. I remove either the center seat or tandem seats depending on the trip I'm taking and they are easy to install/uninstall. A great canoe for lakes and wide rivers but be prepared for some difficulty on narrow, twisty and tree-choked rivers.
I am a novice paddler who...
I am a novice paddler who spent alot of time fishing from a Solo Plus this Summer and Fall. I fished from the Royalex version of this boat both tandem and solo. Stable enough tandem to successfully land a 35" Tiger Musky, it can also be a bit twitchy with 2 onboard. Solo it is very stable (stand up even), but feels a wee bit slow and inclined to get caught in the wind. (I'm only 170 so it may need more load). Overall, I'm satisfied and it is exactly as advertised. I've had enough fun on the Solo Plus to consider trading it in and getting two canoes: a fast solo for myself and a roomy tandem for when Dad comes fishing.
I looked at alot of solo...
I looked at alot of solo boats but in the end I couldn't buy a boat that couldn't be paddled by two people. My boat is paddled by me 85% of the time. Use it on slow rivers and lakes. I love it and would recommend it to anyone. I'm 225 lbs and I like the solo plus more than my rec. kayak. I got royalx and wood trim, I get excited every time I look at it, and that is the only compromize I won't make.Love your boat and it will love you back. It paddles well for me solo and about two weeks ago I took it out with 25 mph winds with a first time paddler, we were the point boat for two 26 foot voyager canoes and we didn't have any problem staying ahead of the 14 inexpierenced paddlers.Don't listen to the crap that some of the experts site, try it, easy to put on and off my topper and moves very well.
I'm changing my review of...
I'm changing my review of this boat when I first paddled it I was used too paddling flatwater C1s that do track better. However now I am paddling more solo touring boats which turn much easier than c1s. The boat is incredibly stable even when leaned over to turn. It does indeed track rather well, I ve taken my 25 lb dog in it and it handles the extra unstable weight just fine. As a tandem it has pretty good glide and stern is quite responsive. The bow however takes a bit of effort to move it around. It probably makes a great solo for a larger paddler.
We are shorter and...
We are shorter and probably lighter than most of the people that reviewed this boat. Also I paddle solo a lot so I find the boat to be a bit wide for efficient solo paddling also with my weight around 165 the boat dosent track that well for me. It reminds me alot of the Mad River Independence in the way that it handles. As A tandem we find it too be quite fast leaving most other paddlers behind. The front end can be a little hard too move around but the back end is quite responsive. It probably is a better solo for a bigger paddler if you dont mind the extra width.
I had a fiberglass solo...
I had a fiberglass solo plus. It was the first Wenonah I purchased and so began my affair with the company you hate to love. At the time I was looking for a solo with fine lines that would work in a pinch as a tandem. The solo plus was the almost perfect compromise. I got a lot of use out of it, both moving and calm water. It worked very well for a self-supported trip on the Deschutes River and saw duty sturgeon fishing on the lower Columbia. The trip on the upper reaches of the Owyhee took its toll and I ended up giving it to my daughter whose husband repairs boats (and everything fiberglass). I miss it. However, looking back and speaking only for myself, the better way to go is to never, ever, never buy any canoe that is not designed to be paddled by one person or, if you must cling to the illusion of versatility, get the Jensen 17, a fast tandem that can be paddled solo ... When I miss my solo plus I get out the Jensen 17. It helps.
I just purchased the...
I just purchased the Royalex version. While it is good as a tandem, it really shines as a solo boat for a big guy-fast, stable and easy to turn. It is stable enough to stand up in. It does oil-can when used as a tandem, but this is characteristic of a thin Royalex boat. I almost bought a Penobscot 16, then I demo'd the Solo Plus, which is must faster as a solo than the Penobscot. It is also longer by 4 inches and lighter by 3 lbs.
For a big guy who wants a...
For a big guy who wants a solo boat, the Solo Plus is the ticket. I used one without the front or back seats (an option) and find it works great. We-no-nah's other solo boats are great, too, but I am a BIG guy and my center of gravity is a bit high for some.The Solo Plus handles and tracks very well, stable yet responsive. Big guys delight!
I originally was biased...
I originally was biased against the Solo Plus on the basis that a hybrid wouldn't do anything well. But I was looking for a compromise between tracking and maneuverability, I wanted a stable solo boat with a lot of capacity, and I like to go tandem once in a while. The Solo Plus turned out to be just the ticket. My next choice would have been a Prism or a Solitude. The Solo Plus can get in tight spaces, but it takes some care. And it responds reasonably well to any stroke you give it. The seats are a little too low, especially the bow and stern, and they're fixed, which makes it hard to trim the boat. Otherwise it's a smooth operator - not fast, but moves right along - doesn't turn on a dime but is quite responsive. The catalogue's writeup is accurate - this is a competent solo boat that can go tandem in a pinch. In Tuf-Weave it's 50 pounds and easily handled by one 50-year-old.
Just got my royalex solo+...
Just got my royalex solo+ paddling on quiet water is a breeze not affected by wind to bad happy as a clam.
Nice boat but gel coat...
Nice boat but gel coat finish is to soft skincoat or royalex would be better. i have ultralight kevlar hull, handles good and is narrow enough for most solo work. Will update after trip.